Monday, June 8, 2009

I'm pro-A.A., but I really do want to fix the bridge between us

Don't believe me? Here's a thread I just started and maybe it'll get a read or two here. I'm putting my experience and thoughts on the line for all to see. The "recovered alkies" and the anti-AAers are free to tear me apart. Here ya go!

Was the A.A. Program and Fellowship intended to be inclusive or not?

Was the A.A. Program and Fellowship intended to be inclusive or not?

I see things in the book that shout that the A.A. program should be helpful for all. I don't know if that means they intended to take the dash on the 1st Step short form and insert your affliction and start your own Program and Fellowship and run with it, or...

We know very well the hammering out of the traditions and the "singleness of purpose". So it's obvious that when A.A. tries to do too much or be everything to everybody, both sides suffer.

But what about the distinction between the "real alcoholic" and the "hard drinker"? Does the hard drinker belong in the Program of A.A. and/or the Fellowship of A.A.?

This may be too hard of a topic. We may not be able to swing this one on here. But it's so important for us to come to some common ground on this or we'll just keep fighting.

So what's my experience with all this? I go to Closed and/or hardlined underground meetings and get fed spiritually as it's almost all program and as much fellowship that I could want.

But I also go to "loose" or very open meeting where I'm very aware that I sit amongst potential addicts, potential alcoholics, "real addicts", "real alcoholics", andas, hard drinkers, hard drug users, alanons, people who aren't sure one way or the other, etc. I don't shy away from them or intend to run them off. I don't go up to them and tell them they're confusing the real alcoholics that that cofusion is killing them. I don't. I can tolerate them. In fact, I love to converse with them and just talk about where I'm at. But I may not be sure who's really an alcoholic and who is just a hard drinker anyway, right? If they have more time than I do and I haven't been able to get them to check out my closed meeting or haven't been able to talk to them about their 1st step, how can I know? They may be very active in service work and much moreso than I and wouldn't assume I could add anything to their knowledge to what being an alcoholic or a hard drinker is.

Let's look at the book. I found a line in there that helped to inspire this thread. It reads, "We have concluded to publish an anonymous volume setting forth the problem as we see it.

We shall bring to the task our combined experience and knowledge. This should suggest a useful program for anyone concerned with a drinking problem."

Anyone concerned with a drinking problem? I'm sorry, but I'm confused. I'm quite sure this means the real alky or the hard drinker. And they wrote, "useful program", not "useful fellowship. So this would imply to me that they are to be included into the fellowship AND the program.

I hear and have caught myself saying stuff like doing the A.A. steps are for alkies only and will make those who aren't alky sick, not better. Is this true or is this false? I think this notion is one of the biggies that divides us (AAers and non-AAers).

To the non-AAer; that book was written during a time when there were perhaps no anti-AAer. Duh, how could there be, right? But seriously, I'm under the belief that there wasn't much hope for the alky anyway and they were cast out to being locked up, considered insane, moral deviants, criminals, hopeless, etc. And to a great extent, these things were true. Then these guys got together and plugged the severity and hopelessness of the problem into the spiritual program of action and found that one alky could reach another alky like no one else could, and there you go. But we follow the teachings of that book and it tells us that this Program is perhaps the best solution for most alcoholics. Many of us do this deal, stumble, and wonder what we missed. Some of us fail. Sure we do. But eventually, some us try and try again, and here and there, it takes hold and some more of us recover. If it finally works for us, we see no need to try something else. So being convinced of that, why should we suggest something else of which we know nothing about and have had no success in?

Maybe the recovered alcoholic should wear a badge and just state up front, "It worked for me and I'm going to have bias." That way, the person being approached can understand that they're not likely to hear much about alternative recoveries from this person.

Also to the non-AAers; I don't think it's necessary for pro-A.A. people to explain or rationalize or accept some updated theory or statistics that A.A. is not effective for the "real alcoholic" or the "alcoholic of the helpless variety" as the book describes. We really have to admit that it's such a subjective study and we'd always be comparing apples to oranges.

To AA-ers: What's your thought? Put yourself in the shoes of the hard drinker for a second. What would you do? It's got to be hard to be told maybe you're not a real alcoholic AND to discover that they're right. I've been told that I'm perhaps not a real alcoholic on numerous occasions and all it did for me is drove me fast into finding the truth and to perhaps consider that maybe they're right. Fear is always involved. But I think it has always drove me further into the realization that I am definitely a Mad Dog Alcoholic of the hopeless variety. But what if it goes the other way? Can we still help them? Should some of them perhaps be approached with alternative recoveries like secular, SMART, Life Ring, Rational Recovery, etc.?

How do we do this and help each other out instead of bashing each other?

I hear and see non-AAers and anti-AAers in the world and on the www say at first that AA is ok and has a purpose for some. But then they go way out and say how destructive it is. They question me on MY program and that only leads me fast and furious into the book and I see myself doing better than I would have otherwise. It's become like working the steps all over again just to show them &%^$s! You know what I mean?

Do you really think A.A. is going anywhere? I don't. I think it's as healthy as ever and is still the model for spiritual recoveries.

I'd like to put arguments against A.A. aside for another day or thread; ones that involve verbage like cult, thumper, nazi, a liar, a jacka#$, a wingnut, and old-timer,etc.

I'll leave my theory of monetary motive aside if you'll leave the arguments against me aside.

What do you say?
So does God direct us, or suggest us?Per ** guidelines...
...any quotes or paraphrases are from BB 1st Edition.

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